The main beach below the village of Portwrinkle is the delightfully named Finnygook Beach which faces south and backed by cliffs. It is however just one of a series of wonderful beaches that can really only be accessed from Portwrinkle and its parking provision. To the west of Finnygook across the rocky foreshore is Hoodny Cove, a fine sandy beach next to the curved quay and small harbour which marks the time when Portwrinkle was a traditional fishing village; the old pilchard cellars above the harbour are further reminders of the past although they have been turned into houses. Beyond Hoodny Cove it is possible to scramble the short distance across the rocks to the secluded Britain Cove or along the Coast Path to Eglarooze Beach and Beak’s Horn Beach. At low water it is possible to walk (although it is not easy) along the foreshore from Hoodny Cove to Skerrish Beach and Downderry. To the east of Finnygook at low water it is possible to get to a series of beaches the first of which is known locally as Harry’s Ball Beach (which is part of Whitsand Bay) and runs into the slightly larger Skinner’s Ball Beach and then Oldhouse Cove and on to Whitsand Bay proper and Long Sands. Portwrinkle means ‘Porthwikkel’ in Cornish.
PL11 3BP - From the A 38 at the Trerulefoot Roundabout 11kms east of Liskeard, take the A374 to Torpoint and after 7kms follow the B3247 to Crafthole (1km) and in the centre of the village the road to Portwrinkle; after 800m there is a car park on the left immediately above Finnygook Beach (capacity about 70 cars) and slightly further on a roadside car park (capacity 60 cars). It is not worth continuing along the road as there are parking restrictions. An alternative route to Portwrinkle is along the B3247 from Seaton and Downderry, the latter being some 3.5kms to the west.
Access to Finnygook Beach is along a surfaced public footpath which is signposted from the road next to the car park; the gently sloping path is 100m long and suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. By walking 400m westwards along the road from the car parks there is a slipway/ramp down to the Quay, the beach within the Harbour and Hoodny Cove.
From the westerly end of Hoodny Cove, Britain Cove is a short scramble (100m) over sand and rocks but it is cut off 1.5 hours after low water. To get to Eglarooze and Beak’s Horn Beaches means taking the Coast Path; this can be reached from the road up the hill from Hoodny Cove. It is a 780m walk along the cliffs above and past Britain Cove to get to the narrow, winding and steep path down to Eglarooze Beach which is often very overgrown in places. Once on the Beach to get to Beak’s Horn Beach (which is actually two coves) involves scrambling over the rocks at a very low tide – real care needs to be taken not to get cut off by the tide. To reach Skinner’s Ball Beach and Oldhouse Cove means walking along the Coast Path in the other direction to the east of Finnygook Beach for just over 1km through the Golf Course situated right up to the cliff edge. Some 50m beyond the Golf Course is a path on the right which splits after 150m with the right hand one leading down to cliff to Skinner’s Ball Beach and the left to Oldhouse Cove – both involve a scramble down to the foreshore.
Finnygook is a mostly sandy beach at high to mid-tide but at low water there are rocky ledges; there is a fine strip of sand above high water. Hoodny Cove is also sandy at all stages of the tide but there is a rocky ledge which crosses the beach at mid-tide; it also has an area of dry sand above high water. Britain Cove and Eglarooze Beach are also sandy with small areas of beach above high water whilst Beak’s Horn is rockier and has little sand at high water. Skinner’s Ball Beach has a small strip of sand and shingle at high water but is sandy at low water with rocky ledges in between. Oldhouse is sandy at all stages of the tide with a narrow strip at high water which can be sand but often stony.
There is safety equipment above the Harbour but none at any of the other beaches.
Swimming at all the beaches should only be carried out on a rising high tide as there can be strong currents at low water especially at Oldhouse Cove and Skinner’s Ball Beach. Hoodny Cove and the Harbour are the best places to swim because they are more sheltered. There can be reasonable surf at Oldhouse Cove but the other beaches are more suitable to bodyboarding when conditions prevail. There are some wonderful rock pools between Finnygook and Hoodny and also between Hoodny and Britain Cove which are also the best places to snorkel when the tide is high.
Dogs are not permitted at Finnygook from Easter Day until October but there are no restrictions elsewhere. There are toilets at Portwrinkle opposite the roadside parking area, a cafe above Finnygook, a restaurant at the Hotel and a pub and shop at nearby Crafthole.
The slipway down to the harbour is narrow but suitable for small craft. Water quality is believed to be good at all the beaches. Finnygook and Hoodny are popular family beaches with much to offer whereas the others are all difficult to access.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ALL OF CORNWALLS BEACHES PLEASE CLICK HERE